VA plans $815M computer buy

Tech refresh comes full circle

The Veterans Affairs Department is in the market for a few computers. As part of its planned technology refresh cycle, the VA is planning to buy up to 600,000 desktop computers to equip its entire enterprise.

With a potential value of $815 million, the eight year contract features an option to order hardware in the first four years. In its request for proposal, the VA said it will either lease the machines with the option to purchase, or outright purchase, but it will not do both.

The VA will use the PCs across the agency for daily office automation, communications, access to departmental servers and hosts and other applications. In the RFP, the VA told potential contractors that it requires support and services associated with the computers “to accommodate gaps in internal capabilities.”

The VA also said it requires flexibility in the use of the workstations. This adaptability includes potential variables in quantities, configurations, operating locations and life cycle. Under the RFP, the department requires its computers in two configurations: standard and advanced.

Under the contract, the VA will ensure compliance by creating a custom image named the VA Gold Image. Contractors interested in supplying the VA will receive an agency-provided disk drive containing the image, which will be shipped via secure delivery to the manufacturer. As part of every engineering change proposal, the contractor must return two computers, one in each of the designated configurations, and monitors to the VA. The department will test the computers to determine if they are functioning properly and can operate in the VA's IT environment. This will involve regression testing that will involve VA application software to ensure that the VA Gold Image is operating correctly on the hard drive.

According to InformationWeek, the VA plans to order 70,000 PCs in the contract’s first year with purchases not to exceed 200,000 computers per year.

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